Without a warts-and-all depiction of the odious frog and his subsequent transformation into a handsome prince, the fairy...


Dog meets frog in this amusing retelling of “The Frog Prince,” which uses photographs of costumed English bulldogs against computer-generated backgrounds to illustrate the fairy tale.

In this version, Princess Zelda is the pampered princess pooch, dressed in brocade ball gowns and jewels as she plays with her favorite golden ball. When her ball lands in a mud puddle, a helpful frog (actually another bulldog in a frog costume) appears with a promise to rescue the ball if Princess Zelda takes the frog into her life as her BFF (best friend forever). The plot follows that of the familiar story, with the frog sharing the food and pillow of the disgusted princess. After a peaceful night’s sleep next to each other on a golden pillow, the frog reverts to a dog and Zelda changes her mind, declaring that she and the handsome canine prince were meant to be together always. The story is told with a contemporary flavor, using abbreviations and expressions that don’t quite match up with the lavish, Renaissance-style costumes. The depictions of the frog prince are a drawback, because the dog in a frog costume doesn’t clearly show that the dog has been changed into a frog by a magic spell.

Without a warts-and-all depiction of the odious frog and his subsequent transformation into a handsome prince, the fairy tale loses its bite. (Picture book/fairy tale. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 7, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-312-60325-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2011

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Hee haw.

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The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.


From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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